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Essential Latin (3 CDs)

Essential Latin (3 CDs)


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Latin music is one of the world’s fastest-growing entertainment sectors. Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico are among the countries at the centre of a revolution that has seen artists like Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez and Carlos Santana sit atop the charts, while the recently established Latin Grammy Awards attest to the importance of the danceable music that has swept the globe.

Mexico is the world’s largest Spanish-speaking country, so it is no surprise that its music is pre-eminent in the Latin vanguard. Puerto Rico is a little brother by comparison but has produced its own elite stream of musicians ever since José Feliciano blazed a trail in the early Sixties.

Brazil is South America’s largest constituent nation, its cosmopolitan nature and numerous ancestral links ensuring a variety and vibrancy to its music that is unmatched the world over. The samba and the bossa nova are just two of its gifts to music and dance.

We feature not only genuine home-grown Brazilians like João Gilberto and Luiz Bonfá but also a raft of Americans like Stan Getz, Quincy Jones and Enoch Light who helped roll out Brazil’s music bandwagon in the early Sixties. The bossa nova literally means ‘new way’ or ‘new style’ and is an understated, easy-listening form of music with a distinctive rhythm and relatively simple instrumentation. It supplanted the samba in popularity in the late Fifties.

Luiz Bonfá moved to the United States to record albums for the American market after his contribution to the soundtrack of Orfeo Do Carnaval (Black Orpheus) brought him late-Fifties acclaim. He even penned a song for Elvis Presley to sing in a movie. Pianist and bandleader Sergio Mendes also moved to the States in 1964 and went global shortly thereafter with the album ‘Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes And Brasil ’66’. His popularity continues to this day, his music a staple of hip easy-listening compilations.

Cuban music is essentially dance music incorporating African and Spanish influences. The world music and salsa dance craze in the Nineties coincided with Cuba becoming more accessible and ignited interest in its music. The ‘Buena Vista Social Club’ CD and movie, inspired by a defunct Havana music club from the Forties and Fifties, introduced the world to a generation of prominent musicians like singer Ibrahim Ferrer – ‘the Cuban Nat King Cole’, according to Ry Cooder – and pianist Rubén Gonzalez who appear on our compilation.

While 20 artists took part in the initial Buena Vista project, it was charismatic Compay Segundo that Wim Wenders’ cameras first homed in on. Resplendent in check jacket and Panama hat, the veteran singer toured Havana in the back of a vintage soft-top car looking for the long since defunct Buena Vista Social Club. At 89 years of age, he was one of many performers whose talents had been overlooked for too long, partly because of poor political relations between the US and Cuba that had included a trade embargo.

The Caribbean island half the size of the United Kingdom and with less than half its population is famous for producing great percussionists. Mongo Santamaria enjoyed a brilliant career as a conga player and remained active and influential until his death in 2003. Another Cuban institution is Sonora Matancera, a brass-heavy outfit that started life in the Twenties. The band has had many featured singers over the years including Celia Cruz, who started her career with them and fronts them here. The renowned Queen of Salsa left the island in 1960, just before Fidel Castro came to power, and, after settling in the United States, did much to foster the growth of Hispanic music there.

Like Cruz, Pérez Prado, Cuba’s King of the Mambo, is another graduate of the Sonora Matancera, if from a slightly earlier era. He moved to Mexico in 1948 and went on to take the US by storm three years later. We feature such well-known Prado pieces as ‘Mambo No 5’ and his US/UK chart-topping cha-cha version of ‘Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White’ from 1955. ‘Patricia’ has been used many times in the media since its 1958 release, most recently by the UK’s Royal Mail for a series of memorable TV commercials.

Latin music proved popular throughout the world from the early decades of the last century, when the socialites of New York and Paris danced the rumba, mambo and cha-cha-cha, to the present day, when its rhythms have enlivened programmes like Strictly Come Dancing. This package of exotic listening will help that sexy sound continue to reverberate – and the good news is you don’t need to speak Spanish or Portuguese to join in the fun. Just let your feet do the talking!

CD 1

1. Soul Bossa Nova - Quincy Jones and His Orchestra & Roland Kirk
2. Mambo No.5 - Pérez Prado
3. Tema Sem Palavras - Sérgio Mendes
4. Mi Bomba Sonó - Celia Cruz & La Sonora Matancera
5. Samba Da Minha Terra - João Gilberto
6. Balanço No Samba (Street Dance) - Stan Getz
7. He Guapacha - Mongo Santamaría
8. Me Diras Que Sabroso - Compay Segundo
9. El Platanal De Bartolo - Ibrahim Ferrer
10. Rabo E Mula - Jack Constanzo
11. Ahora Me Toca a Mí - Tito Rodríguez
12. Cerveza - Boots Brown & His Blockbusters
13. Balaio - Luiz Bonfá
14. Cha-Cha Chick - Tito Puente with Woody Herman and his Orchestra
15. Los Cueros - Ray Barretto
16. Siboney - Edmundo Ros and His Orchestra
17. Chega de Saudade - Laura Villa
18. Asi Son Bongo - Joseíto Fernández
19. Deve Ser Amor (It Must Be Love) - Herbie Mann
20. Muñecas del Cha Cha Chá - Celia Cruz & La Sonora Matancera
21. Bim Bam Bum - Xavier Cugat
22. Doralice - João Gilberto
23. Copacabana - Severino Filho and His Orchestra
24. Poco Pelo - Rubén González
25. Garôta de Ipanema (Girl From Ipanema) - José Baptista da Silva & His Band

CD 2

1. Guaglione - Pérez Prado
2. Oba-Là-Là - Sérgio Mendes
3. Me Voy a Pinar del Rio - Celia Cruz & La Sonora Matancera
4. Samba De Duas Notas - Luiz Bonfá
5. Bim Bom - João Gilberto
6. Brazil - Enoch Light
7. Manteca de Coco - Tito Rodríguez
8. Ahora Seremos Felices - Rubén González
9. Pachanga para Bailar - Ray Barretto
10. New Cha-Cha - Tito Puente; Woody Herman
11. Bodas De Oro - Ibrahim Ferrer
12. Ole' Mambo - Edmundo Ros & His Rumba Band
13. La Mujer Del Peso - Compay Segundo
14. Rosinha - Laura Villa
15. Cuando Ya Nadie Te Nombre - Horacio Guarany
16. Morena Boca de Ouro - Severino Araújo e Su Orquestra Tabajara
17. Outra Vez - Sérgio Mendes
18. Errinho À Toa - Maysa
19. Patricia - Pérez Prado
20. Exaltaçäo à mangueira - Jameläo e Orquestra
21. La Amorosa - Álfredo Abalos
22. El Que Siembra Su Maíz - Celia Cruz & La Sonora Matancera
23. Oyeme Mama - Abbe Lane
24. Voy Pa Mayarí - Compay Segundo
25. Manila - Mongo Santamaría

CD 3

1. Jamaicuba - Mongo Santamaría
2. Bolinha De Papel - João Gilberto
3. Anita - Compay Segundo
4. Los marcianos - Rubén González
5. Son Montuno - Tito Puente and His Orchestra
6. Oye Heck - Ray Barretto
7. El Merengue - Celia Cruz & La Sonora Matancera
8. Amor Por Amor - Luiz Bonfá
9. La CampiÑa Cubana - Alfredito Valdez
10. El Látigo - Tito Rodríguez
11. Olhou para Mim - Sérgio Mendes
12. Lamento - Severino Araújo e sua Orquestra Tabajara
13. Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White - Pérez Prado
14. O Barquinho - Maysa
15. Samba De Uma Nota Só - João Gilberto
16. Maria Orgulhosa - Laura Villa
17. Bilongo - Rubén González
18. Cuban Love Song (Canción Cubana) - Edmundo Ros and His Orchestra
19. Bajo la Luna - Celia Cruz
20. Afro Blue - Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaría & Willie Bobo
21. Pan, Amore Cha Cha Cha - Abbe Lane
22. Desafinado - Enoch Light
23. Quizás, Quizás, Quizás - Pérez Prado
24. Lalo Bossa Nova - Quincy Jones
25. Bamboléo - Carmen Miranda

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